Is There an App for That? Developing an Evaluation Rubric for Apps for Use with Adults with Special Needs
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Background: Societal need for technological support constantly evolves. Many mobile applications (apps) are now easily accessible, especially for the special needs population. Little literature exists discussing the usefulness, value, and evaluation of applications in this population. Apps have the potential to enhance the independent lives of adults with Down syndrome. One example is iDress which provides the user with the temperature and the clothing selection that is appropriate for that temperature. Purpose: The purpose was to identify apps that could enhance the lives of adults with Down syndrome. Methodology: Apps were chosen based on ease of use and applicability to the population. A tool was developed previously based on Harry Walker's evaluation rubric. The tool provides evaluations in application, feedback, adjustability, ease of use, cost and benefit. Each app was scored 1-4 and an average of each area calculated. Qualitative data were gathered from participants (adults with special needs and family members). Participants selected from a convenience sample, were required to be English speaking and capable of touch technology. Results/Conclusions: Through analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, conclusions were drawn that touch technology and the apps that use it, can be beneficial in the lives of adults with Down syndrome. Apps that were rated low were due to participants' inability to communicate and understand directions or physical inability to use touch technology. Adults that were able to participate in the study rated most apps useful and applicable to their daily lives, specifically iDress. Findings indicate that adjustments, based on participants verbal and education capabilities, are needed for apps to be fully effective in the target population. The
Paper submitted to the University of Kansas School of Nursing in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Nursing Honors Program.
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